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Application For Asylum Seekers To Be Released

MEDIA RELEASE

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Acting Minister of Immigration
30 November 1999

APPLICATION FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS TO BE RELEASED BUT MONITORED

"An application for the release of 16 asylum seekers being held in Mt Eden Prison would be made to the District Court tomorrow," Acting Immigration Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

"The New Zealand Immigration Service will also urgently appeal the High Court judgement made yesterday.

"A decision has been made to seek the release of the 16 asylum seekers under section 128A of the Immigration Act. This allows conditions to be attached to their release into the community which will ensure their whereabouts is known.

"This option means that provided the court agrees the claimants would be released, and at the same time it enables the Court of Appeal decision to be applied to their situation.

"Our legal advice is that the High Court decision as it stands potentially has wide ramifications. There is concern it could see New Zealand targeted by illegal immigrants knowing they could get permits to stay in New Zealand simply by making a refugee claim.

"We have an obligation to protect New Zealand from illegal migrants.

"The New Zealand Immigration Service will now work on the logistics of releasing the men, and on the conditions under which they will be released. The Immigration Service will be working with representatives from the relevant ethnic communities to establish what role they can take in supporting these men."

ENDS

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